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West Side Brewing to Launch in Northern Kentucky

Joe Mumper knows Northern Kentucky well.

He lives in Newport and worked several years in downtown Covington until deciding to fulfill a dream in launching a brewery on Cincinnati's West Side.

Naturally, it's known as West Side Brewing.

But in a region where the running joke is how east won't venture west, and west never goes east... west is about to go south.

Mumper and team will make their Northern Kentucky debut on Tuesday evening at Hotel Covington, a project that he was involved with during his run with the Salyers Group, which co-developed the boutique hotel and also operates the Madison Event Center next door.

He expects the return to his home side of the Ohio River to be well-received, just as West Side has been on the West Side.

"We've been very well-received and people appreciate our straightforward approach, and they love our beers," Mumper told The River City News.

At Hotel Covington, the brewery will introduce Northern Kentucky beer fans to five of its offerings: Common Ale, Hefeweizen, Session IPA, Double IPA, and Stout. The beers have been distributed in Ohio for about four months and are currently in sixty bars and restaurants.

"Every place we've gotten in, they've re-ordered, which is a good sign they like our beer," Mumper said. "I live over here and have been asked, when are you coming to Kentucky? So, now is the time."

Mumper recalls receiving his first home brew kit when he was 22, and for the past fifteen years he had been kicking around the idea of opening a brewery - and had some close calls, but life events stopped him.

But in a region that celebrates the running joke of its own willful segregation, Mumper found himself on the other side of town when opportunity finally struck.

"What do I have to do with the west side of Cincinnati? I'm from Norwood. I've lived in Newport for ten years now and I thought, if I wanted to open a brewery I wanted to open one in Newport or Covington," he said. "Then I saw the building in downtown Westwood and then just thought about all the beer drinkers on the west side and I think, if you open a craft brewery now, you have to do something different or go to an under-served market, and it's definitely an under-served market."

And now West Side somes to the south side. The event at Hotel Covington starts at 5 p.m. on Tuesday. A Newport Pub Crawl is scheduled for Thursday starting at Coaches Corner at 6 p.m., followed by Pompilio's at 7 p.m., and the Crazy Fox at 8 p.m. and then on Friday, West Side hosts a pub crawl in the Roebling Point entertainment area, with stops at the Gruff, Keystone, Smoke Justis, and Molly Malone's (starts at 5 p.m. at the Gruff and moves to each location at the top of the hour).

Soon, West Side will begin canning and Mumper says the beers will be available at Kroger and other retailers.

But, for now, the taps are ready at Hotel Covington. "That was the very first place I thought of to launch in Northern Kentucky," he said.

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher